“Single” is just another word for the freedom to eat raw onions.Photo: Melissa Horn
Every day is Valentine’s Day at the love nest known as UG headquarters, but that doesn’t mean the Underground Gourmet has forgotten those leaden-hearted singles who, come this February 14, find themselves dateless, forlorn, and generally feeling unfit for human consumption. And neither has Chris Ballerini, the happily married owner of the East Village sandwich shop the Twisted Burger. In an effort to pump up the self-esteem of these poor souls on what many consider the worst restaurant day of the year, Ballerini is bringing back his infamous Breakup Burger for a limited engagement, much in the way that McDonald’s dusts off its Shamrock Shake machine every March 17.
The Breakup Burger, as you may or may not know, is about a third of a pound of grilled ground beef dressed up with a ripe slab of Limburger cheese and a pile of chopped raw onion. It proved so pungently unpopular among his clientele that Ballerini unceremoniously yanked it from the lineup months ago and dares to offer it now only as an occasional special. It comes with lettuce, tomato, and a dill pickle; serious thrill-seekers can get it with garlic mayo.
Of course, you could spend Valentine’s Day lapping up a tub of Haagen Dazs and then crying yourself to sleep. Or you could order in Chinese or a pepperoni pizza. But nothing says I’m single and I’m proud more emphatically than a bad case of Breakup Burger breath. — Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld
The Twisted Burger, 430 E.14th St, nr. Ave. A; 212-358-8409.
Paint the Town Red: our complete Valentine’s Day Guide [NYM]